Meet my new ride. For those of you who haven’t seen one before, it’s a Dutch cargo bike – a Bakfiets. I have wanted one of these for years but for obvious reasons, could never justify the expense. Because, you know, I had a car. And they’re expensive bikes. Jeff will tell you that the only reason I agreed to go car free was that if we stuck with it, I could get one after a year. But because the universe is sometimes awesome this way, I found out that a friend of mine was looking to sell hers at a price I could afford (because now I don’t have a car). I jumped up and down with glee and went to go see her and bring it home.
Let me tell you what makes this bike so great.
First, it holds a lot of stuff. I can do a serious grocery run and not be so worried about space issues. On my first real grocery run, I bought our weekly groceries plus a 12 pack of beer and other beverages for our beach trip (I may have overbought). It all fit just fine.
Second, Kit LOVES it. She sits on the bench and sees everything and we chat. She thinks the front row seat to the world is the greatest thing ever – she begs to go for rides. She was fine behind me, but this is so much better for both of us.
Third, Jeff can ride it. My Kona Minute doesn’t fit him well because he has fairly short legs and couldn’t step over it, which meant that he couldn’t ride it with Kit on the seat. The Bakfiets is a step through frame, so it’s easy for anyone to ride. He’s glad that he can take on some of the errand running with her, when before I was the one carrying the load while he rode a regular bike. Shared loads are good. Very good.
Fifth, it’s just fun to ride. While it takes some adjusting from a traditional bike, I really love the way it rides and handles. It is not a bike for climbing hills, and especially not when loaded, but for flatter terrain it’s super fun. And people love seeing it.
One downside is that I’m discovering exactly where all of the hills are on my routes. Even the little ones. Which is fine until you overload the bike with beverages for the beach (see above) and head for home from the grocery store that is downhill from your house. And you didn’t realize before that the ride home is all uphill before because it’s a slight uphill. And riding uphill in a heavily loaded new-to-you bike on an 80 degree day that is also raining (hello humidity!) may result in your kid taking one look at your super red face when you victoriously arrive home and run inside for a huge glass of ice water. But hey! You did it! Even the one bigger hill at the end that you took in first gear. You didn’t walk! Win! And you plan your next trip more carefully and swear that you are working on your hill climbing abilities, stat. And then next time you ride it to Whole Foods, which is downhill all the way home.
My poor Kona is feeling neglected now. I think it’s going to be looking for a new home soon. My heart now belongs to another.